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Double Dare (Nickelodeon game show)

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Title: Double Dare (Nickelodeon game show)  
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Subject: SpongeBob SquarePants, Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Nickelodeon articles by quality log, List of programs broadcast by Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids, Nickelodeon game shows, Sports entertainment
Collection: 1980S American Television Series, 1980S Nickelodeon Shows, 1986 American Television Series Debuts, 1990S American Television Series, 1990S Nickelodeon Shows, 1993 American Television Series Endings, 2000 American Television Series Debuts, 2000 American Television Series Endings, 2000S American Television Series, 2000S Nickelodeon Shows, American Game Shows, Cable Game Shows, Children's Game Shows, English-Language Television Programming, First-Run Syndicated Television Programs in the United States, Fox Network Shows, Nickelodeon Game Shows, Sports Entertainment, Television Series by Cbs Paramount Television, Television Series Revived After Cancellation
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Double Dare (Nickelodeon game show)

Double Dare
Also known as Super Sloppy Double Dare (1987, 1989)
Family Double Dare (1988, 1990–1993)
Double Dare 2000 (2000)
Created by Geoffrey Darby
Michael Klinghoffer
Dee LaDuke
Robert Mittenthal
Presented by Marc Summers (1986–1993)
Jason Harris (2000)
Tia Marrie (2000)
Narrated by Harvey (1986–1992)
Doc Holliday (1992-1993)
Tiffany Phillips (2000)
Opening theme "On Your Mark"[1][2]
Composer(s) Edd Kalehoff
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7 (1986–1993)
2 (2000)
No. of episodes 525 (1986–1993)[3]
67 (2000)
Location(s) WHYY Television Studios Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1986–1989)
Manhattan, New York (1987)
Nickelodeon Studios, Orlando, Florida (1989–1992, 2000)
Running time 21–24 minutes
Production company(s) Nickelodeon
Distributor Fox Television Stations (1988–1989)
Viacom (1988–1989, 2000)
Original channel Nickelodeon (1986–1987; 1990; 1992-1993; 2000)
Syndication (1988–1989)
Fox (1988)
Picture format NTSC (480i)
Original release Double Dare &
Super Sloppy Double Dare

October 6, 1986 (1986-10-06)–March 15, 1991 (1991-03-15)
February 22, 1988 (1988-02-22)–September 8, 1989 (1989-09-08) (syndication)
Family Double Dare
April 3, 1988 (1988-04-03)–July 23, 1988 (1988-07-23) (Fox)
August 13, 1990 (1990-08-13)–February 6, 1993 (1993-02-06)
Double Dare 2000
January 24, 2000 (2000-01-24) – November 10, 2000 (2000-11-10) (Nickelodeon)

Double Dare is a children's game show, originally hosted by Marc Summers, that aired on Nickelodeon. The show combines trivia questions with occasionally messy "physical challenges". It is often credited with putting the then-fledgling network on the map, and ranked #29 in TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time.[4]

The show is loosely based on Beat the Clock.


  • Gameplay 1
    • Main game 1.1
      • Scoring 1.1.1
    • Physical challenges 1.2
    • Obstacle Course 1.3
      • Arm Breaking Incident 1.3.1
  • Production 2
    • Personalities 2.1
    • Music 2.2
    • Merchandise 2.3
  • Broadcast history 3
    • Double Dare: The Inside Scoop 3.1
    • Episode status 3.2
    • International versions 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Main game

Two teams of two children each competed for cash and prizes. Originally, both teams wore red uniforms, but after Double Dare entered syndication in 1988, one team wore blue uniforms while the other wore red (Finders Keepers, a Nickelodeon game show that premiered one year after Double Dare, played a role in this change). On each version of the show (except for the original Fox version of Family Double Dare, in which the teams were simply designated by the families' respective last names), each team received a unique name, although they were often referred to as simply "The Red Team" and "The Blue Team."

Each round began with an toss-up challenge in which both teams competed. The winning team received money ($20, $25, or $50 depending on the version of the show) and control of the round. After the toss-up, the round continued with the host asking trivia questions to the team that won control. A correct answer earned money and the team maintained control of the round. Giving an incorrect answer or failing to respond before time ran out gave control to the opposing team. However, a team could choose to dare their opponents to answer the question, which also doubled the value of the question. The opposing team could choose to answer, or double dare the original team, which also quadrupled the question's original value. After a double dare, the team in control could choose to answer the question or compete in a physical challenge. If a team missed a question on a dare or double dare, their opponents received the appropriate money in addition to control.

Here's how Marc Summers would explain the rules of the game:


Version Toss-Up Normal
Dare Double Dare/
Physical Challenge
Triple Dare
Double Dare $20 $10 $20 $40 N/A
Super Sloppy Double Dare
Family Double Dare (1988) $50 $25 $50 $100
Family Double Dare (1990–1993) $25
Double Dare 2000 $300 +
Bonus Prize

All values were doubled during the second round. The Triple Dare Challenge was only available during a round two physical challenge on Double Dare 2000.

Physical challenges

A physical challenge showing two teams having to put inflated balloons into jumpsuits

Physical challenges were stunts, usually messy, that a team had to perform in a specified time, usually 20 or 30 seconds, although occasionally 10 or 15 seconds. All physical challenges on Double Dare 2000 were 30 seconds in length, unless a time reduction was in play due to the Triple Dare Challenge.

Most challenges involved filling a container past a line with one of a variety of substances: water, uncooked rice, green slime, whipped cream, milk, etc. Others involved catching a certain number of items before time ran out. For example, during "Pie in the Pants," a contestant had to catch 3 or 4 pies in a pair of oversized clown pants within the specified time limit, while his/her teammate launched them from a foot-operated catapult at the opposite end of the stage.

Completing the stunt won the team money and control of the game; otherwise the money and control went to the opposing team.

On Double Dare and Super Sloppy Double Dare, both contestants of a team competed in all physical challenges. On the 1988 version of Family Double Dare, all four members of a team compete in the challenges. On the 1990–1993 version of Family Double Dare and on Double Dare 2000, two members of a team competed in round one, and all four members competed in round two.

Double Dare 2000 introduced the "Triple Dare Challenge." Available only in round two, this allowed a team to make their physical challenge more difficult, increasing its value to $300 (instead of $200) and putting a bonus prize at stake. Sometimes this included reducing the time limit (turning a 30-second challenge into a 20-second one), adding an extra item to the stunt (catching 5 pies instead of 4), or increasing the overall difficulty of the stunt (blindfolding the players or requiring the players involved to do it one-handed). The actual modifier was not revealed unless the team decided to accept the Triple Dare Challenge. If the team did not successfully complete the challenge, the $300, the bonus prize, and control of the game went to their opponents.

Obstacle Course

The team with the highest score at the end of round two went on to the final challenge of the game, the obstacle course (renamed the Slopstacle Course for Double Dare 2000). If there was a tie, both teams played the obstacle course. This only happened once (on Double Dare 2000; Triple Dare Challenge explanation took up too much gameplay time). Regardless of the outcome, both teams kept the money earned, with $100 as the house minimum ($200 on Double Dare 2000 and $500 on the Fox version of Family Double Dare).

The obstacle course consisted of eight obstacles which had to be completed within 60 seconds. Each obstacle had an orange flag either at the end of or hidden within it. One team member ran the first obstacle, then passed its flag to his/her partner (or the next team member in line on Family Double Dare and Double Dare 2000), who then moved on to the next obstacle. The team continued to alternate in this manner until they completed the course or until time ran out. For safety reasons, team members were given helmets and elbow/knee pads to wear while running the course.

The team won a prize for each obstacle completed, escalating in value up to a grand prize for completing the entire course. On the original and Super Sloppy versions, the grand prize was usually a vacation or a scholarship to United States Space Camp, and each member of the team received identical prizes. All eight prizes were usually worth a total of $3,000 - $4,000. Some episodes had kids winning more than double that though (e.g.: over $9,000 during season three). On the Fox version of Family Double Dare, as well as the first season of the Nickelodeon run, the grand prize was a car (making all eight prizes usually worth over $15,000). In 1992, the grand prize was changed to a vacation; however, the family that won the tournament held that season had the chance to run the Obstacle Course for a car.

On the Fox version of Family Double Dare (1988), the seventh obstacle offered a cash prize that was worth a different amount (ranging from $2,500 to $5,000) on each episode.

Arm Breaking Incident

In one undated episode of the show, a contestant broke his arm while trying to overcome one of the obstacles. Said contestant had a condition that made his bones unusually fragile, and was only accepted onto the show because he had lied about it on the application. Fearing potential lawsuits (particularly since the child's father was a lawyer), Nickelodeon gave the contestant a consolation prize in exchange for him not taking any legal action against the company. This episode never aired, and this episode cannot be found online, most likely because of this incident. [5]



Marc Summers served as host for all episodes from 1986–93. Additionally, Summers received a credit as producer in 1992, and as an executive consultant for Double Dare 2000. John Harvey ("Harvey") served as announcer from 1986–92, with Doc Holliday replacing him in 1992. Jason Harris hosted Double Dare 2000, and Tiffany Phillips served as announcer for that version of the program. Bruce Jenner hosted a test pilot for a possible spin off of the show titled "Celebrity Double Dare" in 1987, however it was never picked up.

Several stage assistants appeared on-camera and assisted in setting up physical challenges and/or obstacles, including Robin Marella (1986–93), Dave Shikiar (stage assistant, 1986–89), Jamie Bojanowski (1990–92), and Chris Miles (1992–93). Greg Lee, who later went on to host Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, was a contestant coordinator from 1986–90.


All of the original Double Dare music was composed by Edd Kalehoff (who, coincidentally, had earlier composed the theme for Goodson-Todman's unrelated 1976–1977 game show Double Dare) and was basically the same throughout the show's run with some minor changes to the music. The main theme also made a very brief appearance in The Lego Movie.

From 1986–1988, the music had a synth lead. From 1988—starting with Fox Family Double Dare and the 2nd half of the syndicated run of Double Dare through the end of the run—all music was remixed with a horn lead (however, the 1986 variation theme was used for the opening from 1988–1990).

For Double Dare 2000, the music was composed by former Crack the Sky guitarist Rick Witkowski, with a surfer feel for the show. However, the theme song had the same arrangement from the original. Witkowski had previously composed music for Nickelodeon Guts and Figure it Out.


Reebok was a major sponsor of the show throughout its run, and every contestant and stage crew member (including Summers) wore a pair of the company's shoes.

Double Dare's

popularity led to a variety of products made available for sale. In addition to games and toys, T-shirts, hats and other apparel was sold featuring the show's logo. Lunch boxes and folders with scenes and the show's logo were also marketed to schoolchildren.

Broadcast history

Double Dare first aired on Nickelodeon on October 6, 1986, and new episodes aired Monday through Friday through January 2, 1987. Production initially originated at the studios of the PBS affiliate WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the 65-episode first season was recorded in a 23-day period from September to October 1986.[6] After the success of the first 65 episodes, a second 65-episode season was ordered.[7] These were taped from January–February 1987.[8]

A short-lived, 40-episode Sunday morning edition titled Super Sloppy Double Dare was taped near the end of July 1987,[9] and began airing on August 2, 1987.[10] Super Sloppy Double Dare featured gameplay identical to the original format; however, physical challenges and obstacles were designed to make a larger mess. Viewers were encouraged to send in a post card with their contact information and could win a prize if their card was selected and a team performing a physical challenge completed the stunt successfully.[11][12] Episodes of the original Super Sloppy Double Dare were taped in New York City before production moved back to WHYY-TV.

In the fall of 1987, Fox announced they had partnered with Viacom to purchase the distribution rights to the program. New episodes of Double Dare aired in syndication on independent stations and affiliates of the Fox Network from February 22, 1988 to September 8, 1989.[13] There were 130 first-run syndication episodes in 1988.[14] Fox also produced a 13-episode Saturday night edition titled Family Double Dare, which aired from April 3, 1988 to July 23, 1988. Teams on this version consisted of four family members, most often a mother and father and two children. The prizes featured during the obstacle course often totaled over $20,000, and frequently the prize for the eighth obstacle was a new car.[15][16]

On January 23, 1989[13] following a sneak preview episode that aired on Super Bowl weekend, a new version of Super Sloppy Double Dare premiered in syndication, with the first half originating from Philadelphia at the WHYY Forum Theater and the second half originating at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.[13] This version of the show had a bigger set that had its own floor for toss ups and physical challenges due to their (usually) large size as well the bigger messes these challenges made. There were many new obstacles in the obstacle course that were large in size as well. Some include "Gum Drop" (which looked like a huge gumball machine), and "Kid Farm" (which looked like a huge ant farm). While new episodes were airing in first-run syndication, reruns of many of the 1986-1989 kids' version episodes continued to air on Nickelodeon until March 15, 1991.[13]

Family Double Dare returned to Nickelodeon on August 13, 1990.[13] The cash obstacle was removed, but the car was retained as the grand prize, which was later replaced by a trip. Nickelodeon produced the series at Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando. Airing on Saturday and Sunday evenings, the series continued until 1993. The original broadcasts were reruns of the Fox version, following which Nickelodeon launched its own version of Family Double Dare on weekends in September 1990. Production began in July 1990 and ended in July 1992.[17] This series taped at Nickelodeon Studios and ended its run on February 6, 1993 with a one-hour Tournament of Champions episode. Approximately 80 episodes (40 for each season) were taped, along with 2 Super Special episodes in February 1992.[17]

A short-lived version titled Super Special Double Dare aired in early 1992 featuring episodes with celebrities, sport teams or cast members from other Nickelodeon shows. These episodes used two teams of four contestants, with all winnings going to charity. One special consisted of the cast from both Clarissa Explains it All and Welcome Freshmen paired with two civilian contestants. Another special was titled NBA All Star Double Dare.

Double Dare 2000 premiered on January 24, 2000 (following a sneak preview episode on the 22nd), and continued to air new episodes until November 10, 2000. 41 episodes were filmed in January 2000, with an additional 26 taped later that same year in July. Double Dare 2000 followed the Family Double Dare format with a revamped set and bigger physical challenges. It also featured the new "Triple Dare Challenge" option in round two (which would be worth $300 and an additional prize), and referred to the obstacle course as the "Slopstacle Course". Five episodes were shot in widescreen HD in sponsor of electronic company Sony.

Double Dare Live logo

In April 2012, it was announced that the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando would be reviving Double Dare as a nightly live stage presentation, Double Dare Live.[18] As part of the "Studio Nick" feature of the hotel, shows are performed each night for families staying in the hotel. The show features elements and updates from the various versions of Double Dare, including remixed music, physical challenges and an obstacle course featuring obstacles, old and new, from Double Dare. Like the most recent formats of the program, eight players are selected to participate for the game-playing teams while additional audience members play additional physical challenges throughout the program. Previews of Double Dare Live began on May 21, 2012 with an official launch date of May 25. Participation in the program is exclusive to the hotel's guests.[19]

Double Dare: The Inside Scoop

Double Dare: The Inside Scoop
Directed by John Wilson
Produced by Nickelodeon
Written by Bob Anderson
Starring Marc Summers
Geoffrey Darby
Distributed by Kids Klassics
Running time
45 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Inside Scoop, a 1988 release under the "Kids Klassics" brand, explained the conception of Double Dare and featured clips from its early years. Included are Summers' host audition, and clips of the original pilot with Geoffrey Darby as host and a very basic set.

The video also includes unused footage from the very first episode taped of the series (taped 18 September 1986). Four takes were needed on the first item of the Obstacle Course, titled "Nightmare"; while the object was simple—finding the flag hidden within a giant pillow—the flag itself was not in the pillow at all for the first two takes. For the third take, not only did the clock not start, but one of the show's cameramen accidentally fell, blocking the contestants' progress. The fourth take is the one seen in the episode as aired.

There are some naming conflicts with this video. Printed material and the opening titles refer to this as "The Inside Scoop", though Marc and Harvey refer to it as "The Inside Slop," which is also seen in the ending credits.

Episode status

All versions and episodes of Double Dare still exist and have been seen on Nick GAS, including one episode of the Fox version of Family Double Dare.

On October 9, 2015 the kids only version of Double Dare debuted on The Splat programming block on TeenNick, making it the first time the original series is airing on MTV Networks since leaving Nick GaS in 2004.

Current ownership of the series is split between Nickelodeon (all original episodes from 1986–1987, the 1987 "Super Sloppy" version, and all episodes from 1990–1992; 1988–1989 episodes were reruns) & CBS Television Distribution (entire syndicated run). The Fox version is co-owned by the two companies.

International versions

On all international versions of the show (except for Brazil, Canada, and India), teams play for points rather than cash due to specific laws stating that contestants under the age of 18 can't win cash on a game show.

Country Name Host Announcer Channel Year aired
 Australia Double Dare Gerry Sont
Tom Jennings
Simon Watt
Simon Watt
Margie Nunn
Network Ten 1989–92
Family Double Dare Larry Emdur Simon Watt 24 July – 7 August 1989
(3 episodes)
 Brazil Passa ou Repassa Silvio Santos (1987–88)
Gugu Liberato (1988–94)
Angélica (1995–96)
Celso Portiolli (1996–2000; 2013–present)
SBT 1987–2000
 Canada French Double Défi Gilles Payer Gino Chouinard TVA 1989–91
 France Double Dare! Nickelodeon France (2012 pilot only)
 Germany Drops! Jürgen Blaschke Sat.1 1991–94
 India Nick Dum Duma Dum Vrajesh Hirjee Nickelodeon India 2004
 Netherlands DD Show Norbert Netten Toine Stapelkamp TROS 1989–90
 United Kingdom Double Dare, as a segment of Going Live Peter Simon Nick Wilton BBC 1987–92
 United States Double Dare Marc Summers John Harvey Nickelodeon 1986–87
Super Sloppy Double Dare 1987
Double Dare Syndication 1988
Family Double Dare FOX
Super Sloppy Double Dare Syndication 1989
Family Double Dare John Harvey (1990–92)
Doc Holliday (1992–93)
Nickelodeon 1990–93
Super Special Double Dare John Harvey 1992
Double Dare 2000 Jason Harris Tiffany Phillips 2000


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946–present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh
  4. ^ "TV Guide Names the 50 Greatest Television Game Shows of All Time". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Kolson, Ann (24 September 1986). "Trivia And Whipped Cream". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Video on YouTube
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ New York Times; August 2, 1987 TV listings
  11. ^ Shister, Gail (October 13, 1987). "Nickelodeon finds home in Philadelphia".  
  12. ^ "The Slop Behind The 'Dare' Scene - Orlando Sentinel". 1989-04-27. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  13. ^ a b c d e David Schwartz, Steve Ryan & Fred Wostbrock, The Encyclopedia of TV Game $hows, Checkmark Books, 1999, pp. 60
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Syndication Marketplace" (PDF). Broadcasting: 52. 1987. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  16. ^ Jeopardy!' champ wins by a not-so-trivial $1"'". 1987-11-23. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ "Double Dare Live starts May 21 at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort". Orlando Informer. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  19. ^ "Double Dare Show in Orlando". Nick Hotel. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 

External links

  • We Double Dare You article from "Splitsider"
  • Double Dare at the National Film and Sound Archive
  • Family Double Dare at the National Film and Sound Archive
  • Double Dare 1986–1988 (Nickelodeon/Syndication) at the Internet Movie Database
  • Super Sloppy Double Dare 1987 & 1989 (Nickelodeon) at the Internet Movie Database
  • Family Double Dare 1988 (FOX) & 1990–1992 (Nickelodeon) at the Internet Movie Database
  • Double Dare 2000 (Nickelodeon) at the Internet Movie Database
  • Double Dare at
  • Celebrity Double Dare a 1987 unsold pilot at the Internet Movie Database
  • What is Marc Summers up to now? He answers on this podcast
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